Short Waves and Vorticity

  • Short waves at upper levels are often detected as vorticity maxima in the upper-level flow
  • So, what is vorticity?
  • Vorticity is a measure of a parcels "spin".
    • If a parcel spins counterclockwise, it has positive vorticity
    • If a parcel spins clockwise, it has negative vorticity
  • Vorticity around the vertical axis is called "vertical vorticity"
  • There are two primary sources of "vertical vorticity"
    • planetary vorticity
    • relative vorticity